Pirates have attacked a Turkish cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria, kidnapping six crew members in a region increasingly hit by piracy in recent years, the Nigerian navy said on Monday.
“All the six Turkish crew members, including the captain of the vessel, the chief officer and the chief engineer, were abducted by the attackers,” Nigerian Navy spokesman, Chris Ezekobe told AFP.
The pirates attacked the vessel in the dead of night while it was steaming through the oil-rich Niger Delta, added the spokesman.
Ezekobe said the ship, a merchant tanker, was used for crude oil operations and the navy was working with Interpol and Nigeria’s secret police to secure the crew’s release.
Turkey’s Deniz News Agency said the ship, the M/T Puli, was owned by Kaptanoglu Shipping.
Both the kidnapped crew and those who remained on the ship, were “in good health”, the company was reported as saying.
It was unclear how many crew members were aboard, which was carrying chemicals, when it was attacked. Company officials said they have had no contact with the pirates.
Dirk Steffen, director of maritime security at the Denmark-based Risk Intelligence firm, said the vessel was en route from Port Gentil in Gabon to the Ivory Coast capital, Abidjan, at the time of the attack.
“The attackers had possibly already attempted to board another ship in the vicinity the previous day,”
“It is extremely busy outside the Niger Delta at the moment and we had three attacks against tankers before this one between April 7 and 10,” he said in an email.